1: My Journey to Haiti Deciding to make the journey to Haiti was an easy one for me as I had always dreamed of traveling to a foreign country and making a difference in people's lives. Putting my dream into action was a bit harder, but Mission to Haiti Canada gave me that opportunity and I grabbed it with both hands! My on-line application was responded to with encouragement and optimism and I found out in late November that I had been accepted as one of the volunteers assigned to the medical team heading to Haiti for 2 weeks in January of 2011. I was very excited, but a bit nervous at the same time! I would make this journey with a group of people of whom I knew no one, yet we would be a united team traveling to Haiti to work together as one, to serve the people there that were in need. In need of medicine, in need of resources and most of all, in need of love. Flying from Toronto to Miami and then onto Port au Prince, then finally traveling by bus and an aged dump truck to our final destination of Camp Messallier in the small town of Cabaret. The walls of the camp holding a church, a school and an orphanage housing 21 young boys, many of whom were left orphans by the devastating earthquake which hit Haiti almost a year before on January 12, 2010. I would embark on this journey to grow in strength, in courage and in my faith towards God. A good friend told me that He had great things in store for me and so I was anxious to find out what they were! For me, this trip was far outside my comfort zone, yet it was one I knew in my heart I must make. A pilgrimage you could say, searching, I'm not sure of yet for what, but I was positive this would be an experience that would leave me truly humbled by the people, especially by the children of Haiti.
2: Our Journey began in Woodstock, Ontario on January 9th, 2011. We traveled as a group by bus to the Toronto Airport, passed through security and customs and boarded our plane bound for Miami. Once in Miami we had to retrieve all our luggage and go through customs again, then board a different plane for the remainder of our trip to Haiti. We landed at the small airport in Port Au Prince mid afternoon. While waiting for all of our totes to be accounted for, a few of us ended up being "hustled" out of the airport by over eager 'taptap' drivers, who were looking to earn some fare money from us! Once we were able to communicate to them that we were a group of 50 and not 5, they quickly decided that maybe this wasn't going to be such an easy fare after all! They let us go, and we headed back into the airport to meet up with the rest of our group that were sorting out luggage and numerous totes filled with much needed medical supplies, sundry items, food and equipment, much of it having been donated by friends, families and businesses.
3: This dump truck is what our luggage and some of us rode in from the airport back to the camp in Cabaret. Our driver was stopped by the police and we ended up sitting on the side of the road for over an hour while he and our team leader tried to talk the police into letting us go on. We didn't arrive at camp until almost 8:30, but the rest of the team and supper were there waiting for us! Some of the older girls skipping at recess Lammy and I carrying totes to load on the bus
4: Bottom left is the church Top right is where we slept and ate (2 separate dorms with washroom facilities in each) and a large dining room Bottom right is an administration office, the dental clinic and a storage area. | The building on the right is the school. The top left room is designated as the pharmacy, which is kept under lock and key at all times! There is also a 'computer room' upstairs that had a modem we could connect to for internet. It didn't work very well or for very long, so it was hit and miss for sending or receiving emails from back home! | The building behind the trees is the orphanage for the 21 boys. They use the bottom floor and had 2 'house moms' that looked after them. Because our group was so large a few of us stayed upstairs in unused rooms with bunk beds and shared washrooms. Good thing I brought ear plugs, as between 21 boys getting up at 5:00 am and the resident donkey braying throughout the night, there wouldn't have been much sleep going on! We also had a rooster that DID NOT know how to tell time, and would start his crowing about 2 am! There was a lot of night noise!
5: The dental clinic after it was cleaned out from the flooding. Kim Linda, Andre and John Boersma, Kim
6: Me and Grace at a Clinic Lammy with a 90 year old patient We would always start our medical clinics standing in a circle, holding hands with someone from the group saying a devotional.
7: Grace and Maribeth | Veneta with a new babe | Susan our mid-wife | Grace, Edna, Lammy and me at clinic in Port au Prince
8: Ed, Grace, Maribeth, Emily and Aleta Two cute girls wanting their picture taken Pam with a child at clinic